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Two Tests President Obama Must Not Fail

There are two interrelated situations unfolding in the world today, two dilemmas that are threatening to put President Obama to what may be the greatest challenges he has yet faced and could shape the rest of his administration. And how he responds to them could have tremendous consequences for the nation.

The first is how he intends to handle the worsening struggle in Afghanistan. His hand-picked general, Stanley McChrystal, has put forth a plan that he thinks has the best chance for victory. General McChrystal has asked for a minimum of 40,000 more troops as part of a comprehensive strategy.

His request is part of a comprehensive plan that he has submitted to President Obama.

In fact, he submitted that plan almost three months ago, and is still awaiting an answer.

It's a tenet of faith in military thinking that in most cases, a decision made quickly is better than the "right" decision made too late. Even a less-than-optimal decision is better than dithering and allowing the situation to continue unchecked.

Which is precisely what President Obama is doing now. He is weighing his options, seeking counsel, considering all the possibilities. The current trial balloon involves giving General McChrystal about half of what he called the absolutte minimum.

While more and more Americans and Afghanis are dying.

Meanwhile, the United Nations is pushing ahead on the law enforcement model for the war on terror. Possibly encouraged by the Obama administration's banishment of the term "war on terror" and instituting the utterly meaningless "overseas contingency operations," they are now pushing a move to declare the killing of terrorists by missiles fired by remote-controlled drones as "summary executions."

Which, of course, are bad.

This -- more than anything else -- clearly defines the difference between police and soldiers.

Police officers are reactive. They don't prevent crime, as a general rule; they interrupt it, they solve it, they punish it. They are also required to presume suspects as innocent until proven guilty -- which is why they are called "suspects" and not "criminals." They are also very tightly restrained in how they can use lethal force -- there has to be a clear and present danger, warnings given when at all possible, they have to announce themselves

and declare their authority, and so on.

Soldiers have entirely different rules. They don't have to give warnings. They don't need evidence. They don't have to presume the enemy is innocent. They don't even have to give warnings. Oh, they have to accept the surrender of an enemy, but they don't have to necessarily give them the opportunity to surrender -- especially if it might put themselves at any risk.

What the UN wants to declare a crime is an ideal military situation -- the enemy is neutralized (quite permanently), and no Americans were ever put into any danger whatsoever.

President Obama needs to reject this push by the UN, and reject it decisively and absolutely. Under no circumstances should our military be subjected to the rules and regulations and obligations of acting like police officers. The war on terror -- even if it's called "overseas contingency operations" -- is NOT the same as fighting crime.

Terrorists and enemy militants are NOT criminals. And treating them as such is to guarantee our defeat.

President Obama has, it seems, been content to let slide his obligations a Commander In Chief since last January. Rather, he's seemed to more cheerfully embrace the job description of "Community Organizer In Chief."

Last night, President Obama greeted the caskets of Americans recently killed in Afghanistan as they were brought home for honored burial. If we're lucky, that was not just a photo op, and will help him come to the realization that he has a debt of honor to those men.


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Comments (14)

I wonder if he's had the ba... (Below threshold)

I wonder if he's had the balls to offer condolences like his predecessor.

As a Marine mother, I don't... (Below threshold)

As a Marine mother, I don't want his condolences. I don't want to be presented with the opportunity to receive them, if you know what I mean. If he does not give the military what they need, he is contributing to the deaths of these brave warriors.

"If we're lucky, that was n... (Below threshold)

"If we're lucky, that was not just a photo op"

Want to bet? AP has been reporting for months that they are the only ones showing up regularly since Bush left office. It became a drag for most of the news outlets to have to get up in the middle of the night. No point, Bush was gone. So HOW MANY news organizations showed up last night?

And remember the previous s... (Below threshold)

And remember the previous solemnity and privacy with no photos stuff so no one would take political advantage...

I believe "O" was probably ... (Below threshold)
recovering liberal democrat:

I believe "O" was probably thinking to himself, "Damn this country for sending soldiers off to fight in what should be a law enforcement program. We have been too quick to react to what is our fault in the first place." That's what his actions say regardless of what he says.

I don't know what prompted ... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

I don't know what prompted the sudden interest in Afghanistan: The Land That Bush Forgot, but dropping 500-lb depleted uranium bombs on wedding parties for seven more years isn't going to do the U.S. any good.

Would that be the "wedding ... (Below threshold)

Would that be the "wedding party" with no bride, Adrian? The "wedding party" all made up of able-bodied young men?

Damn, don't tell me you're still buying that bit of propaganda...

And way to dodge the entire topic, Adrian...


PURE photo-op by Obama. </... (Below threshold)

PURE photo-op by Obama.

But then this is a 100% stage-managed White House.

Dead American soldiers provided just the right backdrop for our Dear Leader to show his "compassion and concern" as he "carefully deliberates" (tm) on the future dircetion.

Our sons and daughters will pay with their lives for the mistakes the Ditherer in Chief is making...and all too soon.

"don't tell me you're still... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

"don't tell me you're still buying that bit of propaganda..."

The propaganda isn't aimed at me.

dropping 500-lb depleted... (Below threshold)

dropping 500-lb depleted uranium bombs on wedding parties, Adrian? The level of fail in that line is difficult to overstate. There is no such thing as a depleted uranium bomb. "Depleted uranium" is used in armor-piercing cannon shells, such as 30mm Armor Piercing and APFSDS antitank rounds. Also, the strike you're referring to on the "wedding party" in Iraq did not use a 500-lb bomb.

Back to Jay's topic, however: I hope nobody honestly expects Barry Lackwit to make a sensible decision on either of these issues.

I wonder if the ultraconser... (Below threshold)
Cesar Restrepo:

I wonder if the ultraconservatives said the same about Bush ...Wait! Did he ever do that?

Point, the first:<bl... (Below threshold)

Point, the first:

His hand-picked general, Stanley McChrystal, has put forth a plan that he thinks has the best chance for victory. General McChrystal has asked for a minimum of 40,000 more troops as part of a comprehensive strategy.
I have an honest swear-this-isn't-flamebait question for ye old wizbangers: what is victory in Afghanistan? What does it look like? How do we know when we've achieved it?

Point, the second:
I agree wholeheartedly with what seems to be the main premise of Jay's post, which is that the ROE that our men & women are apparently operating under in Afghanistan is just baaaaarely this side of insane -- and that Obama as Commander in Chief had better buck up to his actual job responsibilities and tell the UN to get *&$%ed when it comes to telling us how to fight a war. The UN's logic for "rules of conflict" seems to be that anyone can do whatever it takes to prevail. And by anyone, they really mean everyone except the US or Israel, in which case you have to fight fair. And by fight fair, they really mean "pretend to try to win without actually trying to win".

I would humbly request that, should The One not intercede to prevent what would be a gross violation of our national sovereignty, our military officers reflect on the fact that their oath of commissioning is only to "support and defend" the Constitution of the United States. Not the President. Not Congress. Not the Fed. Hell, not even we the people. The Constitution, and the Constitution alone.

I'll leave drawing conclusions from that concept as an exercise for the reader.

"Two Tests President Obama ... (Below threshold)

"Two Tests President Obama Must Not Fail."

Give Him a break! He's failed every course so far and has at most a D- average.. So I guess We could be little Archie Bunkers.. (Nice how I include We in this), and berate and grade Him on a curve. In which case He get's an F+ for "shows improvement". I however, digress and cede that He is without a doubt, the worst President ever!

Barry will declare VICTORY!... (Below threshold)

Barry will declare VICTORY! in Afghanistan and leave. After all, strength is weakness; so failure must be VICTORY!






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